The Gallatin Valley Farm to School Carrot Award honors individuals or groups who champion farm to school efforts and have made progress in one or more of the three areas of farm to school—cafeteria, classroom, and community. This award is made on an annual basis at the organization’s annual meeting.
Hyalite Elementary School supports farm to school as a team from their students, who excitedly participate in school garden activities, farm field trips, garden to table cooking classes, and nutrition education, to their teachers who strive to integrate farm to school into their curriculum.
Mike Van Vuren, the school’s principal, is dedicated to finding ways to expand hands-on learning opportunities as well as methods to increase access to healthy, fresh foods for the school’s families and neighbors. In a presentation at the Farm to School Showcase, he described how they are looking into “delivering food from the school gardens to families in need.” Erin Jackson, a FoodCorps service member in her second year at Hyalite is also looking beyond the garden into the school and community. She is working with 5th grade students to make healthy treats for their snack program, a popular fundraiser for the class. Ms. Jackson has led the school in many activities including Montana Crunch Time to celebrating National Farm to School Month and National Kale Day. Last summer, she offered Junior Master Gardener summer camps at the school garden, which are planned to continue in July 2014. Hyalite Elementary also co-hosted a workshop to help elementary teachers connect school garden activities to Common Core standards.
The school is currently competing for a national grant through Seeds of Change to help build a greenhouse at the school with the help of McKinstry, an engineering firm. Individuals can vote for the project once per day until April 21 at http://tinyurl.com/hyalitegarden.